Hazardous Business
Industry, Regulation, and the Texas Railroad Commission

People Riding the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway

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People riding the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway

The Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway, nicknamed the Katy or the M-K-T, had its origins after the Civil War, when a group of wealthy investors became interested in the possibility of funneling business from Missouri, Kansas, and the northeast to the Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma) and Texas. The Katy reached Denison in 1872 and eventually expanded to serve Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco, San Antonio, Houston, Galveston, and Wichita Falls. The railroad was acquired by Jay Gould in 1880 along with several smaller Texas lines. In 1890, the Katy was the subject of a lawsuit brought by Texas Attorney General Jim Hogg that resulted a reorganization of the railroad.

Over the next twenty-five years, the Katy continued to expand operations in Texas, operating over 1600 miles of track in the state. Its greatest notoriety came in 1896 with the Crash at Crush, a spectacular publicity stunt in which two Katy locomotives were rammed into each other at high speed. A crowd of 40,000 people came to witness the monster crash, which caused an explosion that killed three people.

The Katy continued as a leading freight and passenger line in Texas until the 1950s. Its fortunes then declined, and it finally ceased to exist in 1989 when it merged with the Missouri Pacific.

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W.D. Hornaday Collection, Prints and Photographs Collection, Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission. 1976/31-160.

Page last modified: August 18, 2011